Zimmerman Jury Asks for Clarification of Lesser Manslaughter Charges in 12th Hour of Deliberation

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The jurors of the George Zimmerman trial are now well into their 12th hour of deliberation, and have remained silent until now. Minutes ago the jury broke their silence for the first time to ask the lawyers on both sides for a clarification of the manslaughter charges.

Zimmerman is facing charges of second-degree murder, but Judge Debra Nelson somewhat surprisingly decided at the last minute that the jury could also find Zimmerman guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Of course, in a highly watched trial like this one there's now all sorts of spot analysis floating around of what the question could indicate. Let's break it down.

Update: George Zimmerman has been found not guilty.


Does this mean the jury has decided against the second-degree murder charges and is now focusing on a "compromise" of manslaughter?

This seems to be the instant reaction of most of the cable news talking heads and Twitter analysts. Jurors were technically asked to consider the second-degree murder charges first before moving on to considering lesser charges. There's no guarantee they're actually following those directions.

No one has any idea what is actually going on in that jury room, and it could be just as likely the jury wants to know exactly what the lesser charges indicate before coming to a decision on the harsher charges. Let's remember manslaughter charges were not introduced to the case until just before closing arguments.

If anything, it seems that the jury isn't quite convinced he's 100 percent innocent at this time either. But, again, and we can't stress this enough, no one aside from the jurors have any idea what's going on in that room. It's those TV talking head's job to fill airtime speculating.

What the difference between Manslaughter and Second-Degree Murder?

Murder charges would put Zimmerman in jail for 25-to-life. Manslaughter (which would come with additional gun charges) would land him a sentence of 10-to-30 years.

A manslaughter verdict would mean that the jury believes that Zimmerman intentionally killed Martin, though that the act was committed without malice. It would however also mean that Zimmerman wasn't protected by "Stand Your Ground" self defense laws.

When will we hear the verdict?

The jury had gone home yesterday at around six, and has so far not asked to be dismissed for the night. That could indicate they're close to reaching a decision and may want to reach it tonight. Then again, it could mean nothing at all. It's all just speculation right now.

Both sides are now deciding how they wish the judge to reply to the jury's questions. We'll update when she speaks again.

Update: After deliberating with both sides Judge Nelson sent a message back to the jury essentially asking them to ask a more specific question about manslaughter.

Update 2: A verdict has been reached. Riptide will update as soon as it has been announced.

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29 comments
drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

I am very sad and disappointed. I am concerned about Trayvon's family. I am an American abroad who still believes that there is more justice back home, but with this particular case am convinced that corruption and power permeate American society. Zimmerman will fall again since the evidence prooves that he is a criminal and has a disturbed mind and his daddy won't be able to protect him next time ...

Had Mr. Martin shot and killed Mr. Zimmerman under similar circumstances, Mr. Martin would have been quickly arrested by the Sanford Police Department and charged in the killing, without the benefit of the doubt” And vigorously questioned by police if he claimed self-defense. The SPD treated Zimmerman easier than Hannity treated him--few tough questions, few questions about the details. The prosecution was handed a weak case because of the shoddy work of the SPD.” Actually, they would have beat Trayvon to a pulp first! and claimed he was resisting arrest (had Trayvon shot & killed zimmerman)

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

 Who calls the police just prior to committing 2nd degree murder? Someone who is known by the police and whose father is a retired judge would be confident that there would no consequence. And if it wasn't for the outrage by the public, he wouldn't be on trial.He had a dad who could tell him how to get away with stand your ground.

http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18tn56hwlcf83jpg/k-bigpic.jpg

Marlene Morfi
Marlene Morfi

Carrying a gun legally is not against the law. It is a right here in the USA. The law is on GZ. Why did he shoot TM? Because he was bashing his head in. Period. Simple. The jury is making a decision asking themselves beyond a doubt if GZ was defending himself and he was. That is IT. TM can't talk about what happened bc he is dead. But when you have a gun and use it, it is usually to kill, not to just maim. That's what happened. They are making in into a race war. This happens every day. It is a tragedy but defining GZ as a racist cop wannabe may be unfair. Remember he himself is a minority and has even given his time to mentoring Black youth. TM's dad even told cops at first the voice saying help was not his son's.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

C'mon Mr. Miller... Lets switch scenarios then: Let's say instead of a dead black teen, we have a screamed-at white teen female. The perpetrator is a black law student, with no criminal record, not even a parking fine... I CAN ASURE YOU, HE'D BE FACING OLD SPARKY, DEAD IN THE EYE!!

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

If he ever ventures out of "Redneckville", that's it: LIGHTS OUT!

Tony Miller
Tony Miller

There are very few actual facts in this case and a lot of human testimony. IMO they didn't prove their case. Dispatchers are trained to tell people not to follow for safety and to avoid liability. It is not illegal to follow a person even if a dispatcher or even a cop tells you not to. It's unfortunate that somebody died and sad the race card is being played. In a self preservation situation I don't know if I would pull the trigger but I'm pretty sure instinct would kick in.

Candace Equality Caldwell
Candace Equality Caldwell

Manslaughter. & at least that will save him from being hunted down... for awhile. He seems to have forgotten that not every town is redneckville and he has to show his face in public sometime.

David Detweiler
David Detweiler

5 vs 1 . Easier to change mind of 1 than 5..this will come to a conclusion very soon.

David Detweiler
David Detweiler

Hung Jury or Acquital. 5 (for Self Defense against both charges) vs 1 hold-out.

Heike Tiegen
Heike Tiegen

It does not turn to self defense if you chase a man against the police dispatcher's order and that man has to defend himself from some trigger happy rent a cop. Some people are just too biased to admit the truth. And it was not about a guy caring about his neighborhood nor was it about race because I believe he would have done it to a white guy that was tatted up too. It's about a dork who wanted to be a cop that couldn't so he went to play cops and robbers.

Samir Vasquez
Samir Vasquez

Marlene, there is no evidence that Trayvon reached for the gun and Zimmerman is at fault for making false assumptions that ultimately resulted in the death of a teen.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

I think it will end with a hung jury, since the judge instructed them to come up with an UNANIMOUS veredict. Someone will drop the ball, just watch.

Ingrid Melody
Ingrid Melody

#Manslaughter. GZ created the situation by stalking & then shooting Trayvon while defended himself. I don't believe it was his intent, but someone died. Guilty!!

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Zimmerman's a profiler, resting in central florida's KKK culture. I'm pretty sure, if he was living in Hialeah Gardens with Rambo on tow, he wouldn't have dared to venture out, chasing anyone.

Marlene Morfi
Marlene Morfi

There was a fight. Zimmerman was carrying his gun legally concealed. Doesn't matter why they got into a fight. It is a tragedy it happened. But once TM starts bashing GZ's head on pavement and reaching for his gun, it turns into self defense. Period. Acquital. Simple. 2 minorities in a fight, legal gun, head bashing...sorry but maybe 1 more head bash maybe could have killed/knocked him unconscious. This media frenzy has turned it into a racial war when it isn't about race but about preservation of life and a neighborhood watch guy caring about his neigborhood. Yes he should have watched from a distance but that is not what they should be bickering about. Once TM started fighting and sitting on GZ, it turns into self defense.

Barbara Behrens
Barbara Behrens

It's in there hands now. I would never second guess a jury.

Jon Zepnick
Jon Zepnick

Very bad news for GZ Unless jury talks about self defense after they get past main charges.

Franco Demonte
Franco Demonte

This country is racist. .always blaming the minorities.

Kathleen M Serafin
Kathleen M Serafin

He was assaulted, TM would be facing attempted murder charges or murder charges if GZ had not defended himself.

MissNess
MissNess

If he goes free then anyone can kill someone and call themselves a neighborhood watchman and claim they were standing their ground.

Nikki Mallon
Nikki Mallon

A street bully with a gun...too many out there !! manslaughter 15-20yrs Trayvon has no life now

Quay Quayhaylaya
Quay Quayhaylaya

He ignored the direction of a police dispatcher and left his car - armed - to confront a pedestrian whom he then shot and killed. Guilty.

Juan R. Pollo
Juan R. Pollo

Don't you have more recent pictures of Zimmerman?

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@Phil Ramirez Think he's hispanic. The hispanics aren't saddle with the white guilt you are and don't care. He'll be fine.

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